I should point out that Betsy Bird’s Top 100 Picture Books Poll happened before Maurice Sendak’s death. So these numbers were not inflated by the news of his death. I can’t help but wish he’d seen this one more triumph, but I imagine he knew he was on top with the last poll, so this was simply one more honor to a picture book genius.
Now, this name won’t come as a surprise, since Where the Wild Things Are all by itself was #1 with 533 points. As it turns out, no other author or illustrator got a total that passed that one. But he had another book in the Top 100, Pierre, at #79 with 25 points. What other books showed up on the poll for Maurice Sendak?
Higglety, Pigglety, Pop! got 5 points.
In the Night Kitchen got 5 points.
Chicken Soup With Rice got 2 points.
And for illustration:
Little Bear, by Else Holmelund Minarik, got 17 points.
A Kiss for Little Bear, by Else Holmelund Minarik, got 7 points.
Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present, by Charlotte Zolotow, got 5 points.
A Hole Is to Dig, by Ruth Krauss, got 4 points.
A Very Special House, by Ruth Krauss, got 2 points.
What Can You Do With a Shoe?, by Beatrice Schenk deRegniers, got 2 points.
So you see, Maurice Sendak well deserves the Number One spot!
I should confess that when I was a little girl, I didn’t really like Where the Wild Things Are. I’m afraid I was a real goody-two-shoes who didn’t like that Max was being bad. However, years later, as a mother of boys, I came to appreciate the need for a Wild Rumpus at times.
Though my truly favorite Maurice Sendak books are A Hole Is to Dig, Chicken Soup With Rice, and Little Bear. His children are truly ready to jump and play and dance. I so love the way the child laughs when the words say a tablespoon is to eat a table.
Truly Maurice Sendak was a genius and left the world a richer place.